by Lee Vereschildt in Canberra, Australia – courtesy of www.AwesomeBooks.com
I’m a sucker for a nice looking cover. I can’t help it. They say not to judge, but who are they anyway? Blossoms and Shadows is a story set in Japan in 1857. I must admit, it’s not a story line I tend to run to but there was something about this one that caught my attention. It might be the case of having history well intertwined with a nice love story. Or it could have been all of the blossom trees drawn on the cover. Really, it is a love story that is what usually keeps me interested. Then you also get the bonus of learning a bit about the world, and a time I wouldn’t normally consider, 1857!
The story is about Japan changing as the western world makes it move into its domain. The Japanese government and the locals struggle with the age of the samurai changing with the modern European influence. It gives great perspective from a young Japanese girl who is to be arranged in marriage and to live a life of answering to her father and then her husband.
Whilst there is a national struggle going on, the young Japanese girl also has her personal turmoil accepting the fact she is going to be married off, without any say in it, and having to accept the choices her family make for her.
The author does well with the personal story of “Tsuru” the young Japanese girl, in pulling you in and making you wish she had a choice in who she married and how she lived her life. The long Japanese names were a struggle for me, and made the book a little confusing at times.
The turmoil Tsuru goes through is interesting and engaging. The author really does know her Japanese history and traditions. It was evident in some of the situations Tsuru was placed in of course without giving too much away. Her retelling of the history of the country during that time was very well researched and she mentions her love of the country in one of the excerpts at the back of the book. That is definitely prevalent in her storytelling.
I did enjoy reading the book but there needed to be more dramatic activities, or something to give the book a bit more oomph. It seemed to me to just flow along, even though there was death, war, love, everything youwould need to keep the plot flowing.
I would recommend this book to others, but I would warn them it’s pretty intense to follow all of the Japanese names, and that it’s not an easy read, it requires you to pay attention a bit but it does give you some great thoughts of Japan.
Enjoyed our first Lian Hearn review? Let Lee know what you think….